The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum seeks a dynamic thought leader to join at a pivotal moment as they build a new Museum campus. The Senior Curator will envision and realize an intensely compelling exhibition program to contextualize and illuminate O’Keeffe’s timeless relevance.
The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum celebrates the art, life, and independent spirit of Georgia O'Keeffe.
About Georgia O'Keeffe
One of the most significant artists of the 20th century, Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) was devoted to creating imagery that expressed what she called “the wideness and wonder of the world as I live in it.” O’Keeffe’s images—instantly recognizable as her own —include abstractions, large-scale depictions of flowers, leaves, rocks, shells, bones and other natural forms, New York cityscapes and paintings of the unusual shapes and colors of architectural and landscape forms of northern New Mexico.
About the Museum
Since 1997, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum offers insight not only into the artist’s paintings, but also her creative process and the light and landscape that inspired her. In addition to the main Museum campus in Santa Fe, the O’Keeffe Museum maintains O’Keeffe’s two homes in northern New Mexico, a Research Center and Library, and a variety of collections relating to O’Keeffe and modern art.
The Museum’s collections of over 3,000 works comprises 140 O’Keeffe oil paintings, nearly 700 drawings, and objects from O’Keeffe’s personal ephemera. Throughout the year, visitors can see a changing selection of these works. In addition, the Museum presents exhibitions that are either devoted entirely to O’Keeffe’s work or combine examples of her art with works by her American modernist contemporaries.
Educational programs at the Museum serve more than 7,100 students and adults per year with a robust slate of workshops, lectures, conversations, and classroom activities.
New O'Keeffe Museum Summary Facts
- What: A 54,000 square foot building on a one-acre lot (32,000 square feet at street level and 22,000 square feet below ground for collections care) and almost an acre of community green space.
- Where: 100 block of Grant Avenue, in the historic Santa Fe Plaza District. The site is currently occupied by the Museum’s Education Annex and related properties.
- When: Community engagement is happening now. Construction is set to begin in 2024 and the new O’Keeffe will open in 2026.
The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum seeks an ambitious and innovative curatorial leader to join the Museum at an incredibly exciting moment in the organization’s history. As they prepare to open a dramatically expanded new museum building in 2026, the Senior Curator will have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to launch a new exhibition program to support dedicated changing exhibition galleries and lead the reinstallation of collection installations in a suite of galleries dedicated to the artist’s art and life. This key employee will have broad responsibility for shaping the exhibitions, collections, publications, and intellectual voice of the Museum.
Since opening in 1997 with a focus on the art and life of Georgia O’Keeffe, the Museum’s collections have grown exponentially. Twenty-six years later, they are on the threshold of a significant expansion to accommodate growing collections and audience demand. The expansion project includes a brand new, purpose-built building with beautiful collection galleries, dedicated changing exhibition space, and new collections storage and care facilities. The new Museum will be the heart of a redesigned campus linking galleries, public programming spaces, a beautifully designed garden, the Research Center hosting our Library & Archive, and staff workspaces.
The Museum is in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a vibrant, diverse, cultural hub full of museums, art and performance spaces, and galleries surrounded by the stunning landscapes and vistas for which the region is famous. The Museum also cares for O’Keeffe’s two New Mexico homes at Abiquiú and Ghost Ranch, roughly an hour northwest of Santa Fe.
The Museum seeks a dynamic leader and collaborator to join the Museum as they redesign the campus, the galleries, and the organization itself. The Senior Curator will have the opportunity to work with a diverse team who brings both innovation and experience to every project. The person in this role will build and bring to life an intensely compelling exhibition program to contextualize and illuminate O’Keeffe’s timeless relevance through a variety of lenses and dialogs, including artists of her time and our own.
50% Exhibition andCollections Installation Program
- Conceptualize and present a balanced schedule of special exhibitions.
- Provide philosophical leadership for the planning of collections galleries and special exhibition schedule to ensure these offerings further the Museum’s mission.
20% Research and Partnership Development
- Conduct original research on exhibitions and works in the permanent collection and develop relationships with individuals and organizations nationally and internationally.
- Foster scholarship and support ongoing research within the field.
10% Public Engagement
- Serving as an outward-facing intellectual presenting talks, walk-throughs, and public programs that connect a broad audience with the artistic and scholarly work of the Museum.
10% Work related to permanent collection
- Including collection plan, loan requests, advocacy for acquisitions through gift and purchase, etc. in consultation with director, collections, conservation, and curatorial colleagues.
- Including donor cultivation and grant preparation.
5% Strategic Planning and Implementation
- Work with Director, leadership, and colleagues across the Museum on realizing institution-wide goals.
- Conceive, propose, and implement innovative and thought-provoking changing exhibitions, traveling exhibitions, and collection installations, including establishing and managing budgets, preparing checklists, negotiating loans, and developing précis, publications, and related materials.
- Identify and manage projects with guest curators and community collaborators, in coordination with the Curator of Art and
- Social Practice, to ensure the O’Keeffe Museum’s exhibition program represents diverse perspectives and facilitates dialogue, discovery, and innovative scholarship.
- Develop exhibition and collection installation lay outs, coordinating closely with the Exhibitions, Collections, and Prep teams on scheduling and managing installations.
- Prepare content for visitor-centered interpretive plans and materials for collection installations and special exhibitions, supporting colleagues in production of labels, printed guides, audio tour content, and other interpretive materials.
- Provide intellectual leadership and content to drive the repurposing of the original museum building, including development of innovative audience-driven experiences that engage a broader audience to ensure the long term relevance of Georgia O’Keeffe.
- Work with the Digital Experience and Interpretation teams to develop and incorporate digital elements into collection installations and exhibitions where appropriate.
- Propose and support public programming focused on the collection and special exhibitions in cooperation with the Learning & Engagement team.
- Conduct original research in areas of expertise to support a dynamic and relevant interpretation of Georgia O’Keeffe, her life and times, and her relevance to contemporary society.
- Function as a public intellectual, engaging diverse audiences through thoughtful writing, lectures, and public programs.
- Serve as a bridge between scholars, the public, and Museum staff.
- Organize, supervise, and/or contribute to exhibition and collection publications.
- Support scholarship on O’Keeffe and related topics by engaging a network of scholars and thought leaders to participate in the activities of the Research Center.
Collections Care and Development
- Develop, implement, and monitor the Museum’s collection development strategy working with colleagues and the Board of Trustees Collections Committee. Analyze and recommend art acquisitions for the Museum’s collection, through gift or purchase.
- Support and participate in the maintenance of the collections database of relevant identifying and other information associated with O’Keeffe work and other collection objects.
- Review art collection records and documents kept by registrar.
- Work closely with the Collections team to maintain collection management policies, including procedures for collection access and care. As necessary, propose amendments for approval by the Collections Committee.
- Track public sales of O’Keeffe works and remain informed about market and current values, support collection appraisals and object valuation as needed.
- Evaluate external loan requests. Identify and negotiate incoming loans to support exhibition program.
Cultivation and External Relations
- Cultivate and steward donors and collectors, supporting fundraising efforts and fostering potential gifts of art.
- Assist in identification of funding opportunities and development of marketing opportunities.
- Participate in appropriate professional organizations.
- Promote collaborative efforts with other museums and arts organizations regionally, nationally, and internationally.
- Maintain a network of contacts with art collectors and professional colleagues.
- Interact with the media in coordination with communications staff.
- Provide private and group tours of exhibitions, galleries, and historic properties both during, before, and after public hours.
- Be an active and engaged participant in the life of the Museum and its communities.
- Co-supervise the Curatorial Assistant, providing clear direction, mentorship, and appropriate feedback.
- Oversee multi-year exhibition and project budgets; work with colleagues to develop and manage annual departmental budgets.
- Serve as the staff liaison to the Collections Committee of the Board, working with the Committee Chair to develop meeting agendas and presentations on appropriate topics, inviting staff to share updates relating to the collection, exhibitions, and maintaining communication between Committee members and staff.
- Participate as member of various Museum-wide committees and teams, attending meetings and providing professional insight and leadership.
While it is understood that no one candidate will bring every desired skill, characteristic, and experience, the following offers a reflection of the ideal candidate profile:
- Significant experience developing, organizing, and installing original and innovative exhibitions with a visitor-centered approach.
- Familiarity with the art and life of Georgia O’Keeffe, other artists of the Stieglitz Circle, and American modern art, with an interest in exploring the subject further, developing personal expertise, and advancing research.
- Curiosity, creativity, flexibility, and an agile mind comfortable with problem solving in a dynamic environment.
- Collaborative working style; work well within and across teams.
- Compelling oral and written communication skills. Advanced public speaking skills and comfort delivering engaging public presentations, leading tours for members, guest, and donors, and representing the museum with members of the press and public.
- Ability to forge and maintain effective working relationships within organization as well as with representatives of public and private organizations.
- Proven ability to cultivate lenders, collectors, donors, and dealers.
- Experience working with interpretive planners and incorporating audience research and evaluation feedback highly desirable.
- Excellent planning and organization skills, coupled with sound judgment.
- A strong sense of public purpose and a clear understanding of professional ethics.
- Familiarity with best practices in the care and handling of fine art and other collections objects.
- Experience supervising staff.
- Willingness to participate in evening and weekend activities, and a commitment to community involvement.
- MA or PhD in Art History, American Studies, Museum Studies, or a closely related field.
- At least five to seven years of curatorial experience in roles of comparable and increasing responsibility. Experience with organizing exhibitions leveraging a national network of curators and other museum colleagues, artists, collectors, and dealers desirable.
- Record of exhibitions, publications, or other evidence of developing successful cultural projects.
Salary and Benefits
Salary range is $90,000-$120,000 based on experience.
This position is eligible for our full benefits package including medical, dental, vision, Life Insurance and Short/Long Term disability, 403b retirement plan with employer match, museum membership, retail store discount, Employee Assistance Program, PTO, Paid Holidays and more.
Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement, with Naree Viner and Tenley Bank of Koya Partners leading the search team. To express interest in this role please submit your materials to our online talent portal, or email Tenley directly at email@example.com. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.
Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email NonprofitSearchOps@divsearch.com. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.
About Koya Partners
Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.